When you own a dog you have a friend for the rest of their life. They’re cute, loyal and can generally make your life better in many ways. They encourage you to be more active since you’re up playing with them and walking them. They can reduce blood pressure and help you to live longer and they provide companionship with a love and bond that you could only ever understand and appreciate if you’ve ever owned a dog. For this reason, we want to do our absolute best for our furry friends and one of the ways to do this is by improving their diet. This helps to provide their body with the nutrients they need to survive and thrive and live a long life. It protects them from diseases, keeps their skin, fur and coat at its best and much more. While a good quality dog food is essential, there are actually lots of human foods you can supplement your dog’s diet with for added benefits. The problem is, many foods which are healthy for us are actually toxic to dogs so you do have to be careful. However, this list specifies what vets and experts deem to be safe, and can be wonderful additions to your dog’s food. You could even go a step further and use them to create your own dog treats!

Lean Protein

The first and most obvious snack for your dog would be a juicy piece of meat- something any dog will go crazy for. Nice dog food brands like Betsy Farms contain real meat which is a treat for your pooch and better for them, but on top of this, a piece of meat as a snack will never go amiss. Avoid anything too fatty or which has added salt like bacon, as these things can cause health issues with dogs in the same way they can for us. Obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure are just a few. Instead go with cubes of chicken, beef, pork or any other meat with the fat cut off. These will all provide a fantastic source of protein and vitamins, you could give them any suitable leftovers from your joints of meat once they’re cooked which would avoid waste too. You can give your dog raw bones, never give them cooked bones since these can become brittle and cause issues in the throat or digestive system. Butchers usually sell big bags of bones cheaply, you could pop them in the freezer and give the occasional one to your dog as a treat.

Carrots

A cute dog eating a carrot

Carrots are high in fiber and vitamins and the crunching is good for their teeth. Dogs usually enjoy eating carrots as they can gnaw on them in a similar way to a bone. Give the surface a scrub before giving them to them to get rid of any debris, and it’s probably best to give them carrots outside as they can make a mess with them! If you’re baking your own dog treats, grate up carrot and use it to bulk them up- just like you would with a carrot cake!

Eggs

Eggs are high in protein and full of vitamins and amino acids making them an excellent choice for dogs- plus they love them! They are higher in fat so are best to be given in moderation. However, they’re a safe treat that you can give to your pooch as a meal or mix with their kibble. Always make sure that eggs are cooked through as dogs can become ill from bugs like salmonella just like us, despite generally having strong stomachs. Again if you’re baking dog treats, eggs make a good binder and allow everything to stick together.

Blueberries

People can be dubious of giving blueberries to dogs as it’s well known that grapes, similar in a way, are toxic to them. However blueberries are absolutely fine, you should give in moderation as not to upset their stomach but make a nice sweet treat which is full of antioxidants. Pop them in the freezer and give them a couple at a time instead of their regular treats for a healthy and low-fat alternative.

Yogurt

Natural yogurt is a fantastic addition to your dog’s diet, if you choose a brand which has live active bacteria, this can help in improving their digestion. It’s a great source of calcium and protein, and again it’s a tasty snack that most dogs will enjoy. You could give them a big daily spoonful and let them lick it off a spoon or mix it with their regular kibble. Just be sure to go with plain yogurt without any additives or sweeteners added since these will cancel out the good effects.

Peanut Butter

An all natural peanut butter that’s free of salt and sugar is a good source of protein and fiber. Again it’s something that’s quite high in fat so should be given in moderation. However, it’s a great way to get your dog to eat their food if they’re going through a fussy phase and it’s funny to watch them eat it!

Spices

Just like us, dogs can get some great health benefits from spices. It’s a fun way to add some additional flavor to your homemade dog treats and make them even more enjoyable for your pooch. Flaxseed, cinnamon, ginger and caraway seeds are all examples. For savory treats, rosemary, parsley, green tea, and basil are amongst herbs that can be used. Herbs and spices can improve their brain, bones, muscles, teeth, skin, immune system and more. If you have any leftover fresh herbs this is a good way to use them too, they’re expensive to buy so it cuts down on waste!

What ‘human food’ is your dog’s favorite to eat? Have you tried them on any of these particular snacks?